Lotus silk is one of the rarest and expensive fabrics in the world. The lotus fabric is made out of lotus stem fibres. Only a few skilled weavers are left in the world who extract the natural fibre but it is a hard and time-consuming task.
It takes about two months to extract the amount of lotus silk required for one scarf, although the craftsmen get good returns for their hard work as each piece of silk is sold 10 times the cost of regular silk. It is important to comprehend why is the silk so expensive? The extraction and weaving process makes the silk much more costly rather valuable.
The lotus silk is extracted from the stem of the lotus flower. After the stem is handpicked and procured, the silk is extracted. The stem has thin and fragile fibre threads which are gained after hand-rolling the silk and put to dry it.
It is important to keep in mind that these threads have to be processed in 24 hours after handpicking them till they are moist. If the stem is not wet, the silk threads are bound to break. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the stems are hand-picked daily. However, the lotus flower can be harvested only between April and October. Once the tedious task of extracting fibres is completed, they are dried and handspun. Later, the silk is put in the looms.
However, the silk has to be handled with care as it is fragile and extremely delicate. Once the silk is woven, it becomes long-lasting and durable as regular silk. The lotus silk is more valuable, unique and elastic than the traditional silk.
While the regular silk is also weaved meticulously from silkworms. The caterpillars create their cocoons by spinning threads, to make a kilo of silk around hundreds of silkworms are required. They are fed on a tray with mulberry leaves for almost a day. The only difference is that the threads of the lotus silk are handpicked.
A team of 20 workers takes about a month to produce only 10 to 20 scarfs of 25 centimetres. While each is sold for thousands of rupees, in a way the hard work is worth for.
Since the lotus fabric is rare and in limited supply, it was expensive and difficult to get your hand on one. However, with the evolution in the fashion trends focusing on rare and unique elements, few designers have started using lotus fabric and other luxury materials.
Due to very few people working with lotus silk and scarce of skilled craftsmen, the industry scale is small and limited. There are only three places in the world that are known to be producing lotus silk, namely Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Apart from the limited affordability of lotus silk, it has several benefits. Lotus is known for absorbing negative energies and has calming properties. The lotus silk also has health benefits as it is said to improve respiratory issues, heart problems and even throat problems. These factors make lotus silk worth for the investment in them.